Florence G. Vincent
ORANGE — Florence G. Vincent, 100, passed away peacefully in her sleep on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in the Quabbin-Swift River Valley, a loving and caring community at Quabbin Valley Healthcare in Athol.
She was born in Franklin, Mass., on Nov. 20, 1916, to the late Arthur J. Holcomb and Clara (Morgan) Holcomb of New York. Genevieve was the youngest of three children. She was only 22 months old when her mother and baby sister died from the flu, and when she was 5 years old, her father met a red-haired friend named Jeannie Wyllie, whom Genevieve later regarded as her mother. Jeannie loved and raised Genevieve as if she were her own. During the summers, Genevieve stayed in West Barnstable, on Cape Cod, with a loving couple who took her in when her mother died. That’s where she learned how to swim and fish, developing a love for the water.
After graduating from high school, Genevieve attended the Edward H. Haskell Home for Nurses in Boston. While training to become a registered nurse, she met her husband, Joseph T. Vincent, and they married in 1940. Genevieve’s impeccable reasoning for choosing Joe: Of the two men Genevieve was seeing, Joe took less time to get dressed. In their 68 years of marriage, they had four children; Stanley, born in Pennsylvania; Jean, born in New Jersey; Wayne, born in Massachusetts; and Nancy, born in Rhode Island. The Vincent family moved frequently and sought the best deaf education for her two deaf children.
Besides her family and medical profession, Genevieve was a woman of many talents. She was a consummate painter, whose remarkable landscape paintings have been bequeathed to her children and grandchildren. Her latest work was only completed last January. She was an excellent cook; at the King James Court in Orange, a community for senior citizens where she lived with Joe for more than 30 years, she grew fruits and vegetables in their community garden. They were the basis of her nutritious, healthy cooking. She was known to bring homemade pies to family gatherings — two pies precisely, one for the family and the other for a particular grandson with an obsession with pumpkin pies. A natural storyteller, Genevieve loved talking about her childhood, and did so with such gusto and enthusiasm. When she was 77, she wrote an unpublished autobiography, in which she recalls encountering a young deaf blind girl who wanted to meet her. Genevieve was 11: “Little did I know then that [Helen Keller] would become famous and that I would have two deaf children and five deaf grandchildren,” she wrote.
After Joe died in 2005, Genevieve continued to stay active. She was an enthusiastic member of the Athol-Orange Baptist Church, where she volunteered. She never stopped learning; to stay in touch with her family and friends, she quickly took to her Mac and in no time she was as big a personality online as she was in person. At 96, she was even active on social media.
Genevieve’s love for animals was contagious. She often talked about her farm animals and remembered their names as though they were old friends. With Joe, she owned a total of 39 dogs, who were often the stars of her adventure stories. Like people, some dogs were recurring protagonists, and some were lovable anti-heroes. Her legacy is that whenever we go out of our way to help an animal, we think of Genevieve.
Genevieve’s love for people and animals as well as her sense of humor will always be remembered. No matter how she was feeling, she saw old age as ripe for humor. She changed her age constantly. She convinced her family that she believed she was approaching 115. For us, the spirit of Genevieve is ageless.
She is survived by her children, Stanley Vincent of Guatemala, Jean Berkowitz of Florida, Wayne Vincent of New York, and Nancy Vincent Meotti of Massachusetts; grandchildren, Daniel Berkowitz of Connecticut, Gary Berkowitz of Iowa, Rachel Berkowitz of Florida, Jeanette Zarembka of California, Jaclyn Vincent of California, Terri Vincent of California, Andrew Fisher of New York, and Ashley Fisher of Florida; and 13 great-grandchildren.
There are no services and interment at the Massachusetts Veterans’ Cemetery in Winchendon is private.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Parent Infant Program at the Learning Center for the Deaf in Framingham, Mass.
Witty’s Funeral Home, 158 South Main St., Orange, is directing the arrangements.
You may offer your sympathy online at www.wittyfuneralhome.com.
ORANGE — Florence G. (Holcomb) Vincent, 100, of East River Street, died Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, at Quabbin Valley Healthcare in Athol.
Funeral arrangements are pending with Witty’s Funeral Home, 158 South Main St., Orange.